Friday, 14 December 2018

Energising research for alternative power sources

POWER GROUP: Prof Tariq Kahn (right) with two of his lectures and three of the students who work under the auspices of the Centre for Distributed Power and Electronic Systems. POWER GROUP: Prof Tariq Kahn (right) with two of his lectures and three of the students who work under the auspices of the Centre for Distributed Power and Electronic Systems. Theresa Smith

The Centre for Distributed Power and Electronic Systems is very proud of their two doctoral and five master’s graduands who will be among the last students capped at this year’s Summer Graduation.

The students studied Electrical Engineering and Ayonkunle Oluwaseun Ayeleso and Gunjan Gupta are Doctor of Electrical Engineering graduands supervised by the CDPES.

Ayeleso’s research for his DEng Electrical Engineering focused on a novel alternative energy conversion and generation system based on Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and the fourth state of matter known as plasma. He built a prototype MHD system and published seven accredited journal and conference papers for the work that led to his thesis, An improved plasma energy conversion system for Electric Power Generation.

This focus on alternatives is a big focal point of the CDPES, headed by Prof Tariq Kahn, who supervised Ayeleso.

“The Energy sector is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Do we have a solution for a seemingly dystopian future? On the one hand there is space exploration but that would be pretty useless if you go into space but Earth falls apart. Spaceship Earth has limited resources and the allocation from our current lifestyle simply uses too much. The world has to adjust and new forms of energy generation are needed,” said Kahn.

Director of CPUT’s Energy Institute, Kahn says while they realise the need to encourage students to research alternative energy sources, they cannot ignore the fossil fuel mix and the gas reserves of Mozambique and Namibia need investigating. The Western Cape’s dire water situation also means relooking how steam is utilised in power stations with an eye on desalination technology.

Another important focus area is power grids, featured in Gunjan Gupta’s DEng Electrical Engineering thesis An analysis and improvement of selected features of power quality of grid-tied alternative energy systems. Gupta, supervised by Prof Wilfred Fritz, has published her simulation results in two journal publications and six conference proceedings.

Dr Atanda Raji supervised Gideon Joubert’s Master’s thesis Advanced technological solutions to the negative perceptions of nuclear power plants. Joubert, who will graduate summa cum laude, looked at how nuclear technology has evolved into a safer and cleaner alternative method of power generation since it was first introduced.

Like Joubert, Hlonela Gesha did the new MTech Energy Coursework which is a Masters course that runs parallel to the regular Master of Electrical Engineering course. Gesha was supervised by Kahn for the thesis An analysis of the environmental impacts of biomass application hybrid Microgrids in South Africa.

Tariq Lameen, also supervised by Kahn, wrote the Master’s thesis Development of a photovoltaic reverse osmosis fogging demineralizer for improved gas turbine generation output.

William Murray, who will graduate his MEng Electrical Engineering summa cum laude, was supervised by Dr Marco Adonis for his thesis Energy Wheeling viability of distributed renewable energy for industry. He investigated the economic viability and technical concerns of transporting electricity generated by an Independent Power Producer directly to an industrial consumer.

Supervised by Dr Wilfred Fritz and Kahn, Nkusi Emmanuel will graduate as a Master of Electrical Engineering having written the thesis Modelling of Harmonic Stability and Voltage Distortion between Electrical Grid and Renewable Generation Technologies.

Written by Theresa Smith

Email: smitht@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Applied Sciences and Engineering Faculties and the Wellington Campus.